How to answer the 'Tell me about yourself' question
No one knows us better than ourselves - and yet, it can still be so difficult to talk about personality, our achievements and our aspirations eloquently.
Often, an interviewer will let you set the scene by asking you to tell them a little bit about yourself. It kicks off the conversation, giving you room to go over a few aspects of your CV in more detail, as well as share a little bit more relevant information about your personal life.
It’s not a literal question. It is not time to talk about how you love the lo ma gai at Lin Heung.
It’s a simple query, but your answer will help determine whether you’re the right person for the job. It’s an opportunity to market your experience and show the interviewer that you came to ace the interview by responding quickly and smartly.
Pausing too long before answering may send the wrong message. You will look unprepared and unsure of yourself. Apart from the context, interviewers are watching out for your behaviour and attitude while speaking. Actions speaks louder than words - and if you display lack of confidence, they might start doubting your competence.
If you’re really taken by surprise, act cool while first expressing your gratitude and appreciation for the chance to be interviewed. That’s enough time to collect yourself and refocus your mind.
It’s nothing personal
Don’t tell your life story. When you’re asked to tell more about yourself, it pertains to things that are relevant to the job you’re applying for, plus a little bit extra. You can talk about where you’re from as well as a brief overview of your professional journey to date. Don’t talk about inappropriate things such as when you got a divorce - try and stick to basic personal information that is relevant to your career moves.
Don’t repeat your resume word for word
Yes, your resume is exceptional. Wa ho ging! You went to HKUST, you’ve interned for Cathay Pacific Head Office, but we already know that. Instead of repeating these facts, share your experiences and struggles which are relevant to the job or something that has molded you to become the person that you are today.
For example: “I graduated from HKUST and was part of the debate team. I found this experience really helped me get into sales, and taught me about teamwork and rationality.”
This will help the interviewer assess your personality and figure out if it fits their company culture.
Just be yourself
It won’t be too hard if you speak only the truth. Answer the question as honestly as you can and nothing can go wrong. Just make sure that what you say will promote yourself and display you in good light. Don’t overthink it!
When wrapping up your answer, don’t be afraid to express your interest by saying something like: “I really enjoyed my previous jobs, but I believe I’m ready to accept bigger opportunities such as this, and it would be a real achievement to work here.”.
Need more help acing interview questions? Check out the interview tips here.
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